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Yale University

Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature

Yale University via YouTube

Overview

Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature pairs central texts from Western philosophical tradition (including works by Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, Hobbes, Kant, Mill, Rawls, and Nozick) with recent findings in cognitive science and related fields. The course is structured around three intertwined sets of topics: Happiness and Flourishing; Morality and Justice; and Political Legitimacy and Social Structures.

Syllabus

1. Introduction.
2. The Ring of Gyges: Morality and Hypocrisy.
3. Parts of the Soul I.
4. Parts of the Soul II.
5. The Well-Ordered Soul: Happiness and Harmony.
6. The Disordered Soul: Thémis and PTSD.
7. Flourishing and Attachment.
8. Flourishing and Detachment.
9. Virtue and Habit I.
10. Virtue and Habit II.
11. Weakness of the Will and Procrastination.
12. Utilitarianism and its Critiques.
13. Deontology.
14. The Trolley Problem.
15. Empirically-informed Responses.
16. Philosophical Puzzles.
17. Punishment I.
18. Punishment II.
19. Contract & Commonwealth: Thomas Hobbes.
20. The Prisoner's Dilemma.
21. Equality.
22. Equality II.
23. Social Structures.
24. Censorship.
25. Tying up Loose Ends.
26. Concluding Lecture.

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